For most, our homes are our safe havens. They are our means of escape from the grind, a place of warmth and love for families to share and for others, a quiet space to enjoy the gift of solitude. Homes are our sanctuaries, where laughs are shared and timeless memories made. Unfortunately, criminal elements view our homes as their meal ticket, as their next pay cheque.
In 2017, crime in residential areas was a common feature in our crime reports. Take December 2017 for instance, where crime in residential areas rose by 11% in the last three months countrywide (28% in October vs 39% in December 2017)
Zeroing in on Nairobi alone, crime in residential areas last month made up 28% of the overall activity that we noted in our database. In areas outside Nairobi, this figure rose to an alarming 42%. In fact, as per our database, crime in Nairobi’s residential areas rose by 6% in the last three months, while the corresponding figure for crime outside the nation’s capital is an 11% increase.
In a field as dynamic as security, the only constant is change. Thugs increasingly got innovative in finding ways to penetrate our perimeters, and today we take a look at five of the tricks that burglars used to break into our homes in 2017.
Over the course of the year, gangs reportedly used sedatives in different ways to aid their crime. In early June for instance, Kisumu Town residents raised concern when a gang was said to be using chloroform to induce deep sleep among their victims before robbing them blind at night.
Elsewhere, in both Murang’a and Nairobi a month later, thugs targeted revellers in night clubs, spiking their food or drink before driving to their homes and making off with their valuables.
Be sure to lock your doors and securely fasten your windows before going to bed folks. For those who live for the city night life, we prepared this safety checklist for you to keep you out of harm’s way while you unwind.
- The Help Did It:
Mid-last year, local authorities in Murang’a issued an alert over gangs using house helps to facilitate their home break-ins. Weeks later, authorities in Nyandarua issued a similar warning owing to domestic helps’ involvement in burglaries in the area.
Choosing a house help can be a traumatic experience for some. With the unregulated nature of the industry, even the domestic help bureaus that have been popping up in city estates recently are easily susceptible to infiltration by gangs. This prompted us to issue an advisory on how to hire a help and ensure your property and loved ones are safe.
- Alternative Means of Entry:
In early November, according to media reports, Nairobi police warned over criminal gangs that were finding alternative points of entry into homes and business establishments, such as through the roof.
This was because the gangs believed that home owners have taken adequate measures to secure their doors and other conventional points of entry. Home owners should have a security expert survey their home to map out vulnerabilities in their home security and propose technological solutions such as motion sensors and Internet Protocol CCTV systems to mitigate any threats.
- Master Keys:
Only last month, four suspects were arrested in Kilimani after they were found with 101 master keys in their possession among other tools believed to have been used to break into houses. While the use of master keys is not new, we do need to take a keener interest in the locks that we use.
More often than not, we use one padlock in an attempt to secure valuables worth so much more. While on the topic of keys, it’s also not advisable to leave your keys somewhere visible or accessible from the outside.
- While You Were Away:
Now, counter-surveillance tactics sounds like something straight out of an action movie, but this has taken on extra importance over the past year. This is after noting a series of burglaries which happened while the home owners or occupants were away from home, even for only a couple of hours.
This perhaps points towards gangs scouting their potential victims beforehand. You should vary your routine if you can help it. Vary the times you arrive and leave the house, and the routes you take of possible.
Here’s a little more reading on more ways you deter crime in your home.